by Isi Esene
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers to fine-tune the modalities guiding the privatization of the electricity company ended on a sour note with the workers staging a walk-out on the ministers who were present.
The meeting had in attendance, the minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, and minister for Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu.
In a statement signed and released by Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, the special adviser to the minister of Power, the venue of the meeting was said to have been filled to capacity and the attendees were ready for the task at hand when the workers were directed to leave the venue. The directive was purportedly from Mr. Joe Ajaero, who is the general secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE).
The statement said, “As early as 8am, the conference hall of PHCN was filled to capacity. However, midway into the session, someone came to ring a bell to announce that the general secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, Mr. Joe Ajaero, has directed all workers in the hall to leave with immediate effect.
“Many of the workers immediately complied. This, however, did not deter the team, which went on to deliver the message to the management and a few workers who were left behind.”
According to the Punch Newspapers, the minister of Power, Bart Nnaji, explained to the remaining attendees that the meeting was convened so has to allay the fears the electricity workers might be harbouring over the conduct of the privatization exercise.
He said, “It is important for you to see me, ask me questions, and get straight answers, rather than depending on third-party information that is often doctored by people with ulterior motives.”
He reassured the workers that their welfare would not be neglected as a result of the privatization exercise while also reiterating that the government is ready to see to the success of the exercise no matter the challenges.